Scottish Tory MSPs 'earning hundreds of thousands of pounds' from second jobs

Scottish Conservative MSPs are earning hundreds of thousands of pounds from second jobs, an investigation by Scottish Labour has claimed.

Douglas Ross MSP Scottish Conservative Leader during First Minster's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday November 11, 2021.

The party said that at the start of November, seven Scottish Conservative MSPs had second jobs, with a total of £325,500 expected to be earned from these posts. This excludes other roles in governance such as an MP or councillor, rental income and shareholdings.

The news comes amid an ongoing Westminster row surrounding income from second jobs after it emerged that Conservative MP Sir Geoffrey Cox had made more than £1 million in legal fees in a year. Over the weekend it emerged that Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross had reported himself to the parliamentary standards watchdog over undisclosed earnings when he was a sitting MP.

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Douglas Ross refers self to standards watchdog over undeclared earnings

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wasn’t opposed to politicians holding second jobs, following news reports over Sir Geoffrey’s income. The MP has denied any wrongdoing, although has been reported to the Standards Commissioner for appearing to use his parliamentary office for his external legal work.

Over the weekend, Mr Ross apologised for failing to fully record his MSP salary and earnings as a football referee in his register of interests at Westminster. The pay included £6,700 for work as a match official for the Scottish Football Association.

Mr Ross said he had missed 16 games he had worked at last year, describing the issue as an "error on my behalf that shouldn't have happened".

Scottish Labour business manager Neil Bibby said: “There is no greater privilege and duty than to serve the people of Scotland as an MSP – that so many Tory members are happy to pocket thousands working second jobs at the same time is shameful.

“This is nothing other than the same Tory sleaze we have seen revealed at Westminster in recent weeks. It is high time that Douglas Ross got his house in order and clamped down on these MSPs who view serving the people as a part-time hobby.”

Scottish Labour said that no sitting MSP from their party works a paid second job. The Scottish Conservatives were contacted for comment.

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